VPF Statement - October 2011


Glacier Tax System Assists Foreign National Employees

MIT now uses the Glacier on-line tax compliance system to assist employees as they determine their U.S. tax status. Glacier is designed specifically to help foreign nationals (non-resident aliens) determine their U.S. tax status and complete the necessary forms.

Glacier will replace MIT HR/Payroll's paper process for submitting non-resident alien tax forms, and all non-resident aliens will transition to the Glacier system.

MIT has tailored Glacier for use by MIT community members. However, since Glacier is used by many other universities and companies, some content is generic and not specific to MIT.

The Glacier on-line tool offers:

  • Convenient web access and online help
  • A structured series of questions that guide individuals through entering information
  • A definitive determination whether individuals are eligible for a U.S. Federal income tax exemption (a tax treaty).
  • A calculation of the date when an individual's status would change from non-resident alien to resident alien for tax purposes.
  • Pre-filled tax forms for individuals to sign and bring to HR/Payroll.

It is to the employee's advantage to have the correct tax withheld from payroll payments to avoid the possibility of an unexpected tax bill at the end of the year.

If you have questions about the Glacier system, please contact Marsha Dailey at 617-253-2799 or mdailey@mit.edu.

Open Skies Agreements, International Flights

Under the Fly America Act, air travel funded by the U.S. federal government requires the use of U.S. flag airlines. Exceptions to the Fly America Act have been developed through Open Skies Agreements.

Open Skies Agreements have been developed between the United States and various countries or regions around the world. They make it possible for researchers to travel with non-U.S. airlines if they adhere to the conditions of the agreements. Without such agreements, traveling on funds provided by the federal government requires the use of U.S. flag carriers (an airline owned by an American company), regardless of cost or convenience.

VPF Travel has recently updated its policy on the use of U.S. flag air carriers and how exceptions under the Open Skies Agreement affect researchers at MIT. Please read the updated policy in its entirety before booking travel.

Note: Open Skies Agreements do not apply to Department of Defense (DoD) funding received directly or through a subaward. There are a limited number of exceptions to the Fly America Act for DoD funded projects as outlined in the Federal Travel Regulation Guidelines.

For further information on travel polices, international travel, and exceptions to the Fly America Act or Open Skies Agreements, please contact VPF Travel.

VPF Training: Online and on the Road

VPF is working to broaden its training offerings, developing online courses and bringing customized training sessions out to the MIT community.

Recognizing the value of on-demand training resources, VPF launched its first online training course in August (for MIT Merchants) and is preparing this fall to launch online courses for credit card holders and credit card verifiers and for individuals creating journal vouchers. These courses will be available online and on-demand by any member of the MIT community through the VPF website and the MIT Learning Center.

Over the coming year, VPF and our training partners in Information Services & Technology (IS&T) will develop online courses covering an array of activities, from accounts payable and procurement to SAP reporting and financial review and control.

With the launch of online training courses, VPF will consider eliminating its quarterly introductory training classes, which are currently held in NE49. VPF is committed to in-person training, however, and has begun to focus on providing customized training out in the community.

Two VPF service areas — Sponsored Accounting and Sourcing & Procurement — are now providing such training and are available to present to any department, lab, or center (DLC) on request. Other VPF service areas are working to provide customized training in the coming months.

Offering customized training enables VPF trainers to tailor their presentations to specific audiences. Question and answer opportunities, moreover, often prove productive when attendees represent the same DLC and have common needs and interests.

While moving toward online classes and customized training to meet basic training needs, VPF will continue to provide its two advanced in-person training courses: Accounting Fundamentals and Fundamentals of Financial Management. VPF will also continue to provide in-person training to support the rollout of new systems and processes, as VPF Travel has done in support of the Institute's adoption of the Concur Travel System.

Related links:

Request a customized training session by contacting Scott Rolph at 617-258-8170 or srolph@mit.edu.

Consolidated List of Travel Vendors

VPF Sourcing & Procurement has recently added a new category to SmartBuy that features MIT's Travel Vendors. The consolidated list of hotels, airlines, rental cars, and travel agencies will make finding travel bargains easier for the MIT community.

Vendors listed within SmartBuy are selected by VPF Sourcing & Procurement as part of an ongoing strategic sourcing initiative. The collective buying power of the Institute allows VPF Sourcing & Procurement to negotiate reduced costs and optimal quality and service, and also provide a streamlined ordering process.

Members of the community with questions about SmartBuy or the buy-to-pay process should contact a VPF Sourcing & Procurement Specialist.

VPF Training Classes

VPF will be hosting intro training classes in October. Follow the course links below for details and registration.

In addition to the above courses, Concur drop-in sessions are available every Wednesday, 10-11 am, in NE49-3100.

For more information, contact travelsupport@mit.edu

Select Electronic Delivery of W-2

Faculty, staff, and student employees may now elect electronic-only delivery of their 2011 W-2 tax forms through SAPweb Employee Self Service (SAPweb ESS). If you provided consent last year, you do not need to take any action.

The eW-2 service provides numerous benefits over paper W-2s, including:

  • Ease of access
  • Available sooner
  • More secure
  • Access to archived W-2s, currently back to 2009

The eW-2 service directly supports MIT's effots to reduce paper consumption and become more environmentally sustainable.

Select electronic-only W-2s >>

Travel Discounts FAQ:

Q: How do I make travel reservations that take advantage of MIT's travel discounts?


A: In order to take full advantage of MIT's discounts while booking travel, make your reservations using the Concur Online Booking Tool or by contacting one of MIT's preferred travel agencies.

Making reservations through any other means will not guarantee MIT pricing.

Important Links